When you founded your business, you created a mission statement and defined your values. These are meant to guide your business as it develops and matures. But as time has passed, you may find your business has strayed a bit from your intended values. If that has happened, take a look at your business practices and make adjustments to realign with your values.
The first step is to identify areas of your business that aren’t firmly aligned with your values. To do that, you’ll need to closely examine all aspects of your business, from finances and budget to employment practices.
Begin by listing your values and reviewing what they might look like in action. Try to identify how each value is represented in your business practices. Ask yourself whether some values are underrepresented, and determine whether some practices might run contrary to your values. You may also consider using surveys to employees and customers or focus groups to give you feedback.
Once you have identified areas of concern, you can plan how to better express your values. This may involve altering some procedures and policies. Since sudden, rapid changes can be disruptive in the workplace, encouraging small, gradual changes might be the best solution.
A Kaizen event helps you implement these small changes throughout your company. Kaizen focuses on continuous improvement through a teamwork approach. The four phases of Kaizen are Plan, Do, Check, and Act. In a Kaizen event, teams meet to set goals and make plans to achieve them. Progress is evaluated, and the cycle continues.
Even when implemented gradually, changes can be difficult for the workforce. Without motivation, employees may easily backslide into former practices that don’t match up with your business values. An emphasis on teamwork and goal achievement can keep everyone focused.
If employees take ownership of the change, they are intrinsically motivated. Empowering employees with certain tasks allows them to contribute their ideas, creativity, and expertise. As employees understand how their actions yield positive results that reinforce the business’ values, they become connected and committed to the end goals.
The process of value alignment must be continuous and pervasive. More importantly, values must be understood and embraced by all employees. When everyone works together, you can ensure your business values are expressed in every action your business takes.
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